Tuesday, July 29, 2008

33 1/3 blog has an excerpt from my book about Phillippe Petit's tightrope walk between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974. This post was inspired by Man On Wire, the new film about Petit. Go see it! It's coming to Austin in another week or two, and you'd better believe I'll be there at the earliest opportunity.

There's an interview with Petit on Salon here. The guy's fascinating, so go read it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recap: Reading At The Carousel 7/12

Because I am lame, I didn't ensure that there would be anybody with a camera on hand last Saturday at my Austin reading/Richard Thompson hoot night. One woman fortunately took a couple of pictures, of which the attached is the only one where I don't look like a drooling idiot or trained monkey.

So, here I am at the lovely Carousel Lounge, reading in-between the bands who played RT songs all night. The Carousel, as you can see, has a certain David Lynch-ian atmosphere, enhanced by the giant paper-mache pink elephant behind the stage, visible at the right in the photo.

The musicians were just great, too:
  • Lee Barber and Brian Beattie (who is formerly of the legendary post-punk band Glass Eye) played "I Misunderstood," "Why Must I Plead," and "Keep Your Distance" from Rumor & Sigh;
  • DD Dagger, playing saxophone over guitar-and-drum-machine loops, sang "Calvary Cross" and Kirsty MacColl's "Dirty Old Town" (mostly known for the Pogues cover, but RT has covered it on more than one occasion, too);
  • Elizabeth Jackson sang three songs, accompanied only by a single instrument: "Jet Plane In A Rocking Chair" on accordion, "Withered And Died" on bass (and this version was so achingly beautiful that I can't believe we didn't record it), and "Crazy Man Michael" on violin;
  • The Distant Seconds rocked the heck out of "Shaky Nancy" and "Wall Of Death";
  • I played "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" and "The Great Valerio" acoustic; and
  • my band Parks & Wildlife played "Shoot Out The Lights," "Walking on a Wire," and ended with "Calvary Cross," where Distant Seconds guitarist Matt Baab and I did the dueling lead guitar solo thing for far too long. Rock cliches are fun!

The local press didn't give us much love in advance, but we had a decent turnout, anyway, at least for that bar. Probably 80+ people there, most of whom hung in until after midnight. Pretty decent for a crowd of mostly older, ex-hipster types.

Anyway, my thanks to everyone who showed up! It was loads of fun, and y'all were kindhearted and indulgent to listen to me read to you for 10+ minutes at a time while the bands were getting ready. I had a blast, and hope y'all did, too.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Another SOTL review (that may be my favorite ever)

This review is my favorite ever:
“Shoot Out The Lights” by Hayden Childs is a masterful 116-page obsessive’s
factual and fictional paean to the 1982 eight-song album, as well as to Richard
Thompson, and to a lesser degree to Linda Thompson. Ten pages into the book, I
realized that I had little inkling of the musical specifics that Childs was
putting under his microscope. After four successive and attentive listenings of
the entire CD, I was ready to go back to my reading. As Childs pursued his
inventive and slightly mad takes on the significance of each track, of the
context, emotional and musical of every bar, I would go back to my iPod and
listen again to the song under discussion. I finished the book and stood back,
realizing that “Shoot Out the Lights” is now a burned-in part of my interior
landscape, of my internal sound track, and is there in ways that as yet I do not
fully and probably will never fully comprehend.
Inventive and slightly mad! I have to put that on my business cards. Awesome.

Monday, July 7, 2008

This Saturday, July 12, 2008: Richard Thompson Book Release Party and Hoot Night in Austin!

The venue is The Carousel at 1110 E. 52nd Street. Starts around 9 pm.

Not only will I be reading from the 33 1/3 book Shoot Out The Lights, but musical guests will be playing Richard Thompson songs all night: Lee Barber, DD Dagger, Elizabeth Jackson of the Darling New Neighbors, The Distant Seconds, and Parks & Wildlife. Come on down!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today's Powell's Blog post: Cormac McCarthy does Scott Walker.

Also, if you're in Austin and have Time Warner Cable, you can see me tonight on ME TV (that's Music Entertainment), channel 15, on a show called Tex-Mix airing around 6 - 6:30. Excitement!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Post No. 2 for Powell's! Today it's Pynchon and the Fiery Furnaces. Yesterday was Flannery O'Connor and The Fall. I'll be there all week! Try the veal.